Rewatching Booker! Wait, I mean 21 Jump Street. See, this is the big crossover two-parter. Part one was an episode of the spinoff Booker (season one, episode eight) and part two was on 21 Jump Street (season four, episode ten). It’s “Wheels and Deals.”
Book ‘em: The spinoff’s premise is that Booker is now an investigator for the multi-billion-dollar Teshima Corporation, solving whatever mysteries the company needs solving. This episode begins with some comedy shtick as a little kid walks into Booker’s office wanting to hire him to find a lost dog. Booker takes the case, to impress the kid’s hot mom, a Teshima client. Along the way, Booker gets involved with the mom’s neighbor, a similarly beautiful woman who is caught up in blackmail scheme with billionaire Raymond Crane. Crane, you might remember, was the baddie behind the conspiracy that landed Hanson in jail back in Jump Street’s third season finale cliffhanger. Booker swears revenge on Crane.
Girl Friday: Booker’s secretary/sidekick Elaine helps out by requisitioning $5,000 for a new suit for Booker to wear when he confronts Crane. When she asks why he needs a $5,000 suit, he says it’s for the “attitude.” (If you’re wondering where Lori Petty is, this was before she joined the cast as a regular.)
Chick Tract: Booker convinces his boss Jack Chick to let him take the case by fooling him into thinking it’s a missing kid and not a missing dog.
High rise: As is the case with so many Booker episodes, this one has Booker taking time off from Teshima to run around and do his own thing. In this one, though, things circle back around when Crane threatens to take over Teshima. Oh, and we learn Teshima produces VCRs, among other things.
Trivia time: Pop star Vanity plays the woman blackmailing Crane. She did a ton of TV guest appearances in the late ‘80s. The kid who “hires” Booker is played by Brian Bonsall, who played little brother Andrew on Family Ties and Klingon kid Alexander on Star Trek: The Next Generation.
That brings us to part two:
What’s goin’ down: The Booker episode ends with him not having enough evidence to bring down Crane, so he shows up at the Jump Street chapel. As the 21 Jump Street half of the story begins, we catch up with the Jump Street cops who are all undercover as motorcycle enthusiasts, spying on Crane for wrongdoings as he pals around with his rich biker pals.
Here’s Hanson: Because Crane could recognize Hanson, he sits the case out, instead living large and relaxing in Fuller’s office.
Penhall’s prerogatives: Penhall fits right in with the rough n’ tumble bikers. There are lots of jokes about his new Billy Ray Cyrus-style haircut.
Book ‘em part two: This is supposed to be the big Booker crossover, but Booker is barely in it. His one scene establishes that the Teshima Corporation’s bottomless wallet paid for all the undercover cops’ bikes.
Undercover blues: Fuller gets in on the fun, playing the role of a mysterious biker to get close to Crane.
Goin’ to the chapel: We got some comedy shtick where Penhall, Ioki, and Fuller all call in sick (bad clams, they say) just so they can go out motorcycle riding. This spurns Hoffs to run off and join them, in the guise of a trash-talkin’ biker chick.
Trivia time part two: The Booker episode isn’t on the Booker: Collector’s Edition DVD set. Instead, you can find it on the season four 21 Jump Street DVDs, where they slapped the Jump Street theme song and credits on it. The original theme for Booker was Billy Idol’s “Hot in the City,” which was cut from DVDs and online because of legal reasons. The Booker DVDs replaced “Hot in the City” with the hilariously bad “It’s Hot Tonight and I’m Ready Tonight.”
Jumpin’ or not? The Booker episode is deadly serious, all murders and conspiracy, while the 21 Jump Street part two is a comedy episode, all “tee hee, we’re dressed like bikers.” This makes megavillain Crane’s final capture feel hollow, and a missed opportunity. Not jumpin’.
Next week: Casing the joint.
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